Tag Archives: rug hooking

Ninth Retreat Whitened

Early in April for the past nine years fiber enthusiasts have traveled to Hampshire County, WV for a weekend at Peterkin Camp and Conference Center. Anticipation of renewing friendships, flashes of pinks from native redbuds along Route 50, and pulling loops until midnight energize us.

Snow but no travel on Saturday

Snow but no travel on Saturday

This year the weather included snow! We also had rain on Friday and bright sun on Sunday to travel home. In past years there has been hurricanes, tornadoes, and a full weekend of very warm sunny weather. Mother Nature is fickle in April in West Virginia.

We worked away on a wide variety of rughooking projects. Many of which will be works in progress next year too – they are quite intricate.

Too quickly the packing began and vehicles headed north, south, east and west filled with memories of conversations and visual fun.

Join with a friend or two and pull some loops soon, your mind and work will benefit.

Graphic Realism

I indicated in REALISM INTERPRETED there was a second piece using the same subject. Here is the process and results.  The first work, “Neighbor’s Barn”, used the subject and evokes the natural nuances of 100 year old chestnut boards.  This piece, “Neighboring Barn”, I challenged myself to simplify using straight lines; evoke more drama with higher contrast; and in the end incorporate hardware to emphasize the design origin.

Originally I drew out a runner (18 x54), as you will see the concept morphed into a square.  Why?  As the length increased I began to ask myself what was I trying to say?  When “I do not know” came back to me I re-evaluated.  I took out the light line in lower right, inserted a dark copper wire and ended the composition at the base of the door.  This way with the hardware the viewer probably sees a weathered structure and my piece has a story to tell.

November Study Finished

I am thrilled to create this post of the studies created in November 2013.  The variety of techniques include painting canvas, beads, hooking, applique’, using found objects (ceramic mug, twist ties, clothesline), alpaca yarns, proddy, wire.  Styles ranged from realistic, dimensional, abstract to geometric.

Inspired a larger piece

Inspired a larger piece

During the month I created three larger pieces inspired by the studies and like the feeling I had while making two random squares.  They too could become runners at least.  The palette is changing to softer, colder, and more subtle as the seasons change.  I am going to bring out the alpaca yarns in a range of neutrals and softness for winter and the bare woods.  Missing the FALL foliage wools already.  Sure the small sparks of color will be much more enjoyable as our birds, the evergreens and wintry sky become subjects.  But that is for December and into 2014.

I began this journal on October 18 and was literally in the studio or outside working each day.  As November’s weather changed and the work space became a warm corner in the kitchen (with wood cook stove going) my work ethic changed.  In the studio all the toys were accessible adding to pieces easily.  Away from those inspirations more of the squares were just hooked.  Those which I envisioned needed different materials awaited a trip downstairs.

So it took until December 13 to complete November’s squares.  That’s ok with me.  For the year each month will remain as you see on the header image, one large piece of linen divided in a calendar grid.  After that I will divide them out and finish in appropriate manner for the piece.  I have photographed changes, documenting the lessons I am learning.  Considering this year to be my Independant Study.  Self issued certificate at end.

December has each square drawn out but I felt completing one month was important in the new discipline.  These pieces are revisiting some of the subjects with the new high contrast which snow adds.  Tree branches, railings, even a chair are different when defined by a blanket of snow.   Enjoy the Gallery of selected pieces.

Hampshire Highlands Studio Tour 2012

The first full weekend in December for the past 5 years has meant visitors and locals shopping at Hampshire County studios.  DECEMBER 7-9 are the dates this year, and I have just finished some fun items hooked with wool. Hope some of you can come out to Hampshire County on the weekend and visit with us.  This year our log  home is open with my work hanging among the other artist’s pieces we collect, a great opportunity to see Jim’s log house and our working studio. 

IF YOU ARE NOT ABLE TO COME BY BUT SEE SOMETHING INTERESTING, Email me at rugs2wv@yahoo.com and ask if it is still available, we would ship!

PINS which are 2″ x 3″, each titled and labeled are $25 each.

Push/Pull, Up Hill, Shadows in the Valley, Moonlit Hill

Push/Pull, Up Hill, Shadows in the Valley, Moonlit Hill


Starry Night, Fall Road, Fall Stream, Coppery Moon

Starry Night, Fall Road, Fall Stream, Coppery Moon

There are several 8″ x 10″ mats for $90. Many with complimentary mini 5″ square mats at $25.

Coloring Box: 8 x 10 mat

Coloring Box: 8 x 10 mat


Orange Flame, Geode, Energy Paths, Hayfield and Sumac

Orange Flame, Geode, Energy Paths, Hayfield and Sumac


Nature's Beauty, Apple Blossoms in the Valley, Jewel Light

Nature’s Beauty, Apple Blossoms in the Valley, Jewel Light

Fall Leaves 8 x 10

Fall Leaves 8 x 10

Sky Through Honeycomb 8 x 10

Sky Through Honeycomb 8 x 10

We have a new “designer” BOB (the second female tabby cat named Bob) and yes the first one is still around.

Bob with Layers and Celebrate each $165

Bob with Layers and Celebrate each $165

Summer Vacation and Study in Ontario

Square Bales in Ontario

 Ready for a vacation and yet don’t want to travel too far?  Think learning about rughooking would be fun too?  Canada is a great destination for many New Englanders and those in Northern NY.  Loyalist College in Belleville, Ontario is a great setting for both of these goals.  The Summer Arts Program includes three different sessions with rug hooking artists, of course I would recommend July 16-20 with me! See the full catalog here Summer Arts 2012 Loyalist College, Belleville, ON  Registration begins April 13.

Working through a Project

Stained glass artist, Anne-Renee’ Livingston of Virginia Beach, VA created a design which I have interepreted into a pattern for rug hooking (it has also been used by a quilter, ceramist, woodworker, and digital photographer but that is another post).  My title for the pattern is “Mountain Treeline” and it measures 12″ x 24″.  The first time I approached the design I used a bright Fall palette. 


Then I added one more tree and called it “All 4 Seasons” using a bright cheery turquoise sky.  This post is about the neutral colorway and my decision making steps for a third interpretation.  


I like to select as much variety in values, including textural and solid fabrics and not photographed but included are several yarns — alpaca neutrals spun in Hampshire County at Capon Bridge Fiber Works.   Although I call this a “neutral” version it is more towards warm range from natural through deep chocolate and cool jolts of black and gray with some excitement thrown in by the yellow family.

As I got hooking/creating each tree spoke to where it was in the line up, two on left are on another rise beyond one field, the front row definitely has some out in front and others taking back stage.  The brightest (off white) is not the immediate center image, therefore not hitting the viewer in the face and stopping your eye from moving around.  I remembered to experiment with textures behind solids if they are similar in value, adding to the depth.  

Here is where there was a change and some pulling out.  The farthest right tree anchored the edge with a flat gray yarn.  By switching the textured and lighter wool in the tree third from right with the gray I gave a darker value behind the gold  and lighter ending to the righthand edge. 

Second version strong line

First I thought to create some interest by leaving a line of dark gray in the textured tree only.  But that is too strong and drew my eye only to the “branch”. 

removed line

Removed it and hooked the yarns between the two sections instead, better.

Skyline and foreground in golds

 One last decision was the choice of foreground fabrics.  I was certain the golds would be great pulling into all fields that hue and even went to the extent of stitching the two pieces onto the linen backing.  But it just didn’t ring to me.  

The selection of gray plaid for the small field on left and then brown/black plaid as the foreground seems to anchor the design, invite you to view the details, and be drawn all the way to the interesting skyline in the background.   

  I am going to stretch this piece around artist stretcher bars and hand stitch wool around the edges to complete it as the other two are, simple and all fiber. Comments in the form of critiques are welcome.  Question I would pose is would you have stopped sooner in my process and called it finished?

Book Released to Rave Reviews

The book is out and we are pleased with the responses.

Go to our store at www.RuckmanMillFarm.com to order an autographed copy. 

Readers have said: “I will definitely use this as a “go to” guide for my students.”

Wendie ScottDavis,Ontario CANADA

“Got your book yesterday and started to read it this morning. I think this book will be a great teaching tool for many years to come… just wonderful!”Linda Rae Coughlin,New Jersey

“I received your book It is GREAT!! It is very easy to read and ALOT of information I think it is one of the best Rug Hooking has put out.” Margaret Wenger, Pennsylvania

Canada Tour

Feeling abit like the Royal Couple, (Will and Kate), I have been in Canada since June 24th, hosted by Susan Sutherland in the Kitchener/Waterloo area to conduct a fraktur design workshop within the Mennonite region of the design source.  The following hostess was Anne Boissinot who lives near the McMichael Collection in Kleinburg.  We toured this museum complex for a full day, exchanging our artistic views.  What a great way to learn– visit a museum with a friend with similar interests.

I stopped briefly at Rittermere-Hurst-Field to lunch with Jeanne Field, Andrea Shepphard and the family/workers.  Will be back for the Circle of Friends on July 9th in Aurora.  See www.Letshookrugs.com for information.

Now in Belleville for the two weeks, enjoyed Canada Day by touring Prince Edward County.  Art exhibits, farmers markets, and a beautiful day all recorded in my mind or on camera.  Took shots of the sun moving across a mowed field highlighting bands at a time.  The square bales were stacked in pyramids to be picked up later.  Shapes, light and values were on my mind since this is the theme for the Loyalist College class beginning July 11th.  www.Loyalistfocus.com see Susan Feller for details, opening in class still.

Manistee Michigan – whirlwind tour

Just a quick note, and I will update this post with images later in July.The Western Shore Ruggers of Manistee and Onekama areas in Central Michigan, hosted another successful weeklong rug hooking camp.

The work which came out into the hallway to be viewed on Thursday from the five classes proved there were very serious teaching and learning going on. 

Since this was my first time as an instructor, not to be my last  (coming back in 2014), I was thrilled to spend evenings with the others and our tour guide.  We visited the 95 tall Giant Sequoia, the sand dunes and Lake Michigan and numerous lakes along the way.  More details to come.

Feet wet in the Pacific and fun at Cambria

Susan and Nola and the Pacific

A week on the Central Coast of California in early June extended our Spring weather right when it was 100 degrees and humid in West Virginia!

Cambria Rug School is held at Cambria Pines Lodge and filled with wonderfully talented people.  Seven instructors with a wide range of experiences, and 90 students with guests filled classrooms and dining areas from Sunday evening until Friday at lunch.

Gene and Nola Heidbreder looking at the Pacific Ocean

 Gene Shepherd coordinated a great week with teaching, as auctioneer and as tour guide.  The Pacific Ocean was very cold, but exhilarating as Nola and I got our feet washed, and warmed again on the dark black sand on Wednesday afternoon.  We saw pelicans bathing and flying overhead along with seagulls of all shades.

We also squeezed in a trip to Hearst Castle after classes on Thursday.     There is a view!  Thankfully the family and state have preserved 13 miles of coastline with conservation easements. 

Hearst Castle Pool and view